We were looking for something to do today when I remembered seeing an advert for the National Gardens Scheme open day at Cranbury Park. Cranbury is a private estate on the northern edge of Chandler’s Ford and despite living here over 10 years now I’ve never ventured in to the grounds. We cycled over and, despite arriving only 10 minutes after the opening time, the grounds were already busy. Seemingly you have to arrive early if you want to get a good bargain from the plant stall!
Although there were a few families present you could have easily been forgiven for thinking that the entrance requirement was to have grey hair rather than simply paying £4 each! I have seen the event advertised in previous years and must confess that I have been particularly put off by the advertised “pram and carriage collection”. Mysteriously though Emma had to go back and look at the prams a second time. I think this is because she has recently enjoyed pushing her old pram round the garden whilst we have been clearing the garage out.
The estate has a bit of history, starting with an Iron Age and Roman encampment, through to the location where Isaac Newton spent his final years, a spring visited by Wordsworth and the stationing of the Canadian troops prior to D-Day. It also has a pretty rose garden, a couple of fountains and a pond surrounded by 100s of tiny frogs which provided endless amusement for Emma. There was also tea and cake on offer although we failed to partake as we had to rush off.
All in all it was well worth having a nose round given that the park is on our doorstep. Now that there is a footpath from Hursley up to Ladwell I must also contrive a run that takes me along the footpath through the park. From there to the Itchen and back via Shawford should make a nice long run.